The starting lineup:
Leno, AMN,Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal, Willock, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Xhaka, Aubameyang and Pepe. This was the side that was going to keep our unbeaten strike alive hmm? I thought Lacazatte not starting a very strange one.
Arsenal started the game nervously making a few defensive errors while trying to pass the ball from the back. We are lined up differently with a back four and diamond in the middle with Ceballos at the tip and xhaka at the base (OH BOY). It seems Emery wanted to win the midfield battle and then release PEA and Pepe. It nearly worked when Pepe was released and Adrian trying to clear the ball gave it to PEA, but his chip went narrowly wide.
The most glaring error came when was Ceballos had dropped deep and then tried to hit a cross ball but instead passed it straight to Mane. Luckily Leno kept it out. There was some good work from Willock on the left nutmegging Arnold and giving the ball to PEA who then feds Pepe whose curling shot was narrowly wide of the post.
Arsenal allowed Liverpool’s FBs to cross the ball far too often. I was extremely nervous of this after last week against Burnley when we missed a lot of headers.
Another chance came when Pepe ran onto a though ball and beat the last defender, but he didn’t get enough power in the shot.
As often happens, we miss a chance and then the opposition scores as they did when Matips then put Liverpool one in front from a corner just before half time.
Poor defending from the corner let us down once again. Why was Gendouzi marking Matip? The last few time we have visited Anfield the game was all but over by half time so I was pleased we were still in with a fighting chance today at this point.
Not a great start.
Another lapse in defense this time from our most experienced defender who tugged on Salah’s jersey led to a penalty (what was he even thinking) and it was 2 nil to Liverpool. What was so infuriating about this goal was that it came 46th minute, Luiz shouldn’t be losing his concentration so early into the second half.
In the 51st minute Pepe slipped a ball through to PEA who was clearly offside, but the recovering tackle form Matip was amazing – why don’t we get that type of desire from our defenders. Later Luiz decided to jump out of the way Salah’s way and left the defense exposed and the Egyptian was clinical making it 3-0.
At this point, Emery decided to make a change bringing on Torreira on for Ceballos. I didn’t understand the move because at 3 nil down surely we should be attacking not trying to defend a 3 nil deficit. Liverpool just kept slicing us open and we were lucky not to concede another.
With 10 minutes to go Emery now decided to bring on Lacazette and within four minutes,Torrerira had made it 3-1. With 6 minutes to go there wasn’t enough time for a comeback. The side began to play with more confidence with Lacazette who looked lively and called for a hand ball but wasn’t given. Full Time 3-1
I’m still not sure how to feel after this defeat. If PEA or Pepe had taken their chances game might have turned out differently. Today was a real test and what I wanted from it was for us to show that we are improving. If we are going to play anti-football at least do it with some conviction. Should we be even be playing anti-football with our squad we have one of the best front 3’s in football?
Under Emery we seem to lack an identity, one minute we pressing the next we playing defensively. In the Burnley game I saw the passing out from the back worked on just one occasion – we have been practicing this for an entire year. (I watched Norwich today and they seem to be able to pass out from the back way better than we ever do).
Leno – Little he could do for the goals, didn’t he have a stealer penalty record in Germany hmm … 6
AMN – should have given us some more width but seem he was instructed to defend rather than attack … 5
Sokratis – needs to stop pulling the person he is marking … 6
David Luiz – The reason I didn’t want him to be bought was shown in full effect in second half, was decent in first half … 4
Monreal – Wasn’t able to help the team today, better defending could have stopped the third goal… 5
Guendouzi – made some good dribble to bring the ball out … 6
Wiilock – another good performance … 7
Ceballos – sloppy passing almost leading to a Mane goal … 4
Xhaka – tried some long ball to find the attacker … 5
Aubameyang – should have scored when mistake was made by Adrian … 5
Pepe – had to great chances unlucky not to covert … 5
Torreira – scored our consolation goal, hopefully he ready to start am sick of xhaka… 6
Emery – was guyilty of overthinking things I believe. He lined up today not to lose, rather than to win the game … 3